Marginal Plant Care

How many marginal plants do I need for my pond?

  • Ideally your pond should contain approximately 3 marginal plants per metre of shelf space.
  • For a natural or wildlife pond try for 3 marginal plants per metre all  around the edge of your pond.
  • For larger ponds plant in clumps with 2 or 3 containers together every 50cms around the edge of your pond.

How do I get the best display from my marginal plants?

  • Remember that tall plants and grasses need to be planted into a large basket so that they are not going to be blown over.
  • All marginal plants, unless otherwise indicated, should be positioned at a depth where there is no more than 2-5cms water over the soil.
  • As a rule, marginal plants don't grow in moving water.  Moving water waterwashes the soil out of the crate and disturbs the roots.
  • NEVER put marginal plants directly beneath a fountain, they hate being constantly splashed and it can even kill them!

How do I care for my marginal plants?

  • We recommend that, for ease of maintenance, all marginal plants should be contained in mesh planting baskets or crates.
  • On the whole, because they will compete, it is best to avoid planting more than one variety of plant in a single basket.
  • Use ordinary heavy garden loam. If you can squeeze a handful of soil into a ball, throw it up and catch it without it breaking up, the soil is the right consistency.
  • Plant into a heavy loam, free from chemicals. Light, sandy soil, and chalky soil are not suitable.
  • If your own soil isn't suitable we recommend that you use Arthur Bowers Aquatic Compost which is available from most good garden centres.
  • Marginal plants form clumps and will grow to the size of the basket - the bigger the basket the bigger the clump.
  • Fill the basket ½full of soil, pressed well down to make it really firm.
  • Position the plant so that the base of the stem is about 1-2cms below the rim of the basket.
  • Fill with soil, again really firmly pressed into place, so that the soil reaches to the base of the stem.
  • Top dress with 1-2cms washed pea gravel.

Do some plants have particular needs?

  • Aponogeton Dystachios (Water hawthorn) - plant as a water lily.  Likes cooler water, so will tolerate some shade or movement of water.
  • Thalia dealbata -  plant as a marginal but in a 10ltr crate and in water up to 50cms deep.
  • Louisiana irises - plant as a marginal but in a 10ltr crate and place so there is 0-2cms water over the soil.

Oxygenating Plants

How many oxygenating plants do I need for my pond?

  • In a new pond, the stocking rate should be three bunches per m².

How do I plant my oxygenators?

  • Fill an ordinary garden flowerpot with soil, pressed well down to make it really firm.
  • Plant three bunches of oxygenator in each pot.
  • Push the cut ends of the plants into the soil.
  • Top dress with 1-2cms washed pea gravel.

Where do I plant oxygenators in my pond?

  • Ensure that the plants are fully submerged.
  • Oxygenating plants are submersed plants that grow quickly. Through photosynthesis they breathe oxygen into the water during daylight, especially when they are in active growth.
  • Oxygenators also provide a safe breeding ground and cover for fish, newts and invertebrates.
  • Because they grow quickly, these plants should be thinned out from time to time

Do some oxygenators have particular needs?

  • Ceratophylum demersum (Hornwort) need not be planted, but simply dropped into the water, where it will sink to the bottom and start growing .
  • Callitriche verna only likes shallow water, so plant into 5-15cm (2-6ins) water max.  It can be planted in the crates with your marginal plants.

Further Reading: Caring for your Waterlilies

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Iris Louisiana Merebrook Rusty Red
Iris Louisiana Merebrook Rusty Red


 Birthday, wedding anniversary celebration?  For that someone special, why not a Pondplants Gift Token so that they can add something really unique and special to their pond?  The token can be redeemed at any time during the year.  We'll just point them to our website so thay can choose just the right water lily, iris, marginal or poolside plant for their own pond.

We normally dispatch plants within three working days of receipt of order.  Our standard delivery charge is £7.50 per order for delivery within the UK.  For delivery to EU mainland countries please add an extra £7.50 per 2kg and note that we cannot deliver planting crates or snails outside the UK.  Full details on our "Delivery" page.

Our plants are supplied bare-rooted, lifted and prepared on the morning of dispatch.  The potted plants you buy from other suppliers must be re-potted immediately to give them room to grow.  Marginal plants need to be in 5lt mesh crates and water lilies in 10lt mesh crates.


Remember that plants always grow to fill the crate they are in, so size does matter!  Small 9cm crates are suitable for oxygenators and for containing marginal plants in tubs and mini-ponds.  5lt crates are suitable for most marginal plants and for miniature water lilies.  They can also be good for small varieties of lilies in tubs and mini-ponds.  10lt crates are great for water lilies in almost all garden ponds, and they can also provide space to grow for marginals in larger pools too.





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